Continuing Tales

Power Struggle

A Labyrinth Story
by bobmcbobbob1

Part 4 of 50

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Power Struggle

Sarah woke up troubled. She had returned to her room around three in the morning and slept fitfully for the remainder of the night. Yanking back the covers but refusing to move any further Sarah stared at the ceiling. What happened last night was very real and she had no idea how it happened. Sarah could think of no reason why she'd need to go there and Jareth's gruff question implied that it wasn't any of his doing. Jareth's appearance had been most surprising again, even the brief interview had been more contact with him that what she'd had since her initial trip. Still amazingly attractive, he didn't seem much different in manner than what she'd remembered but perhaps her intrusion to his turf merely set him off balance, on both instances.

Sarah gave in and dressed absently. She shrugged off her discursive thoughts before they were allowed to progress any further, before she began to obsess and make the whole ordeal sound very much like a schoolgirl crush. The facts, she told herself, were that he was still a jerk and that she was finished with the Labyrinth.

Naturally, her second assertion was soon proved false when Jareth stood in her room.

"Sarah," he began in a weary voice, "we have much to discuss."

"Get out of my room," Sarah demanded.

"I don't have time for this."

"Maybe I don't either." Matching his glare with her own, Sarah noticed the slight strain around his eyes and sighed, acknowledging that they were probably both suffering from a lack of sleep. "Fine. What do you want?"

"Stop using magic," he said bluntly.

"Excuse me?" Sarah's eyes widened. "So that's what's been going on. I have magic?"

"You don't," he stated emphatically, with a hint of frustration.

"I don't understand."

"It's my magic."

"Then how…?"

"Not by any action of mine, of that you can be sure."

Although irked, Sarah swallowed and tried to speak evenly. "So how is this possible?"

"I don't know all of the details yet," Jareth replied cryptically.

"What do you know, Jareth?" Sarah asked suspiciously.

"If I am to keep control of my magic and therefore my kingdom, I must do all that is necessary to secure it."


"Meaning that we must be married."

Sarah gawked for a moment and shook her head, "Run that by me again?"

"If I'm to regain the magic you keep borrowing, as it were, and therefore have the means and right to rule my kingdom, we must be married," he related smoothly, betraying no emotion but perhaps fatigue.

"And if I refuse? I've got a life here, Jareth. I can't just up and leave."

"I wasn't asking, Sarah," Jareth remarked firmly.

This was far from her final—well what she thought of then as "final" anyway—confrontation with Jareth. Sarah hadn't understood then but she had plenty of time to consider the matter down the road. Still no obvious exit but this time there was no crystal, no enticement that he seemed willing to give at the moment, no choice given.

"Isn't there some other way?"

"Would I honestly be here unless I had to?" Jareth snapped.

Though hurt by his statement, Sarah set her chin in a stubborn line. The door flung open banging against the wall before she could reply, in fact she was nearly bowled over by a rather excited preteen.

"What are we going to do today, Sarah? Can I have my birthday present now?"

When she only smiled at him, instead of launching into what adventures the two of them would have, Toby frowned for a moment…then realized someone else was in the room.

"What are you doing in my sister's room?" he asked warily.

"That's none of your concern," Jareth replied dryly.

Toby puffed up his little chest. "It is if it's my sister."

Sarah glanced fearfully at Jareth, afraid he'd do something terrible (seeing as his mood hadn't been very pleasant to begin with). To her surprise, his mouth creaked up in a smirk.

"I've done nothing to impugn upon your sister's honor, young sir." He gave a mock bow.

Toby raised an eyebrow, entirely uncertain of what to make of him. "Sarah…who is this?"

"Yes, Sarah, introduce me to Toby."

"How do you know my name?"

"We've met before, several years ago."

"But I don't remember…"

"Here," Jareth produced a crystal and Toby watched in awe, seeing a miniature version of himself as a baby in Jareth's arms, a ghost of the past. "Surely Sarah must have mentioned me."

Toby's eyes went wide. "You're the Goblin King!"

Jareth nodded with a smirk.

"What are you doing here?"

"That's a matter I've come to discuss with your sister."

"Can I see the Labyrinth?"

Sarah burst in, "Absolutely not."

Jareth tipped his head slightly to the side, "Oh, come now, Sarah."

"Yeah, Sarah, please? For my birthday?"

"No, Toby. It's not safe."

"I see no reason why not. But Sarah must come as well."

Sarah never thought she'd see the day where her little brother and the Goblin King were on the same side, trying to coerce her. Still, she had to ask (though she really had no intention of going), "How do I know you won't trap Toby down there?"

"You have my word that Toby will return home."

"And me?"

"That I will not promise. It's very taxing to transport between worlds, especially with the extenuating circumstances we've already discussed."

"Then we're not going," Sarah replied firmly.

Immediately Toby launched into a series of complaints.

In an uncharacteristically sudden hunch and a face set in a grimace of pain, Jareth muttered, "Best to choose quickly."

Sarah's instant concern melted when Toby clapped his hands together.

"Oh, I know how to make this easy."

"Toby don't you—"

"You're my sister but you're not Mom. I wish Sarah and I would return with Jareth to the Underground. Oh. Right now!"

Jareth stood straighter, the strength of the wish infusing new energy to his body. With a look somewhere between satisfaction and the knowledge that he was performing his duty, he swished his hand and they all plopped down in front of the Labyrinth.

Jareth sighed, looking much improved already. "Much better. Lovely to be home again."

"Wow! We're actually here!"

Sarah couldn't speak for the horror welling up inside of her. "Toby, do you know what you've done?"

"Relax, Sarah, we're just visiting."

"Yes," Jareth agreed with a sly smile, "Visiting. And this time, you can stop and enjoy yourself."

Sarah stooped down in front of Toby and seized his arms. "Listen to me, Toby, you've got to wish us back."

Toby set his chin in a stubborn line, something he'd learned from his sister. "No. I want to stay."

Jareth tsked. "Sarah's not enjoying herself, Toby. Why don't we go to the castle and let her cool down?"

Toby shrugged. "Sure. Bye, Sarah. It'll be fun."

While Sarah briefly wondered where Toby's sudden trust in the Goblin King had spawned, she watched helplessly as Toby faded out of her arms until her grasp collapsed against the air and she fell forward. Pounding a fist on the ground, she vented her rage in a guttural shout. Collecting herself with a heavy breath, she marched down the dusty hill and toward the stone walls, just as she had years ago, while mumbling curses under her breath.

"Who's this?" Marek asked, perplexed. "I thought you had gone to fetch the girl."

Toby latched on to what Marek had said. "Wait, you came to kidnap my sister?"

Jareth sighed, "Not exactly, Toby. There's a lot more going on."

Wary, Toby watched Jareth in a manner that made Marek stifle a laugh. After a few tense moments, Marek turned to Toby, "Well, my young sir, where would you like to go? I can only assume that you're a guest in this castle and the grounds are therefore open to you. So long as you respect the scenery, it probably won't eat you. My name is Marek and I would be happy to help you in any way that I can. Perhaps you'd like to see a fantastic view of the whole Labyrinth?"

Toby's face brightened. "That's why I came."

"Splendid. If you start up the hallway, I'll be with you in just a moment."

After another calculated glance at Jareth, Toby took off running.

"So, care to explain?"

"No, not really."

"Where is Sarah?"

"Heading toward the Labyrinth somewhere."

"Well, at least she's in the Underground," Marek conceded. "I don't believe that you're doing much for a first impression."

"It's a little late for that, anyway," Jareth remarked dryly.

"Perhaps, but to make everything else run more smoothly, it couldn't hurt to try."

"See to Toby, Marek. We can discuss the matter with all your infinite wisdom later. Maybe you could try telling Sarah and watch it rebound in a fantastic failure." Jareth stalked off to his private study, feeling a definite need for a drink.

Power Struggle

A Labyrinth Story
by bobmcbobbob1

Part 4 of 50

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